Saturday, September 9, 2017

Poll: Most Committed Polish Would Attend Immemorial Mass of All Ages If Given the Opportunity

Edit: just received this poll result from Una Voce Miami.

Ten years after the motu proprio, we have decided to complete our 2009-2011 European survey campaign regarding the reception of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio. This campaign covered the continent's principal Catholic countries, whether in the wake of papal visits (Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain) or at the request of our local partners. However, it had overlooked the highest-ranking country in terms of Church vitality: Poland. We therefore decided that the time had come to survey the country of Pope John Paul II.

Rather than commissioning a survey from a commercial institute, we followed the advice of Una Voce Poland and turned to the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics (ISKK). It was founded in 1972 by the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (the Pallottines) and works for the Polish Bishops’ Conference. The institute’s Catholic character means that the survey was taken directly on a group made up of committed Catholics (1) which gives this poll an original importance since it deals only with practicing Catholics. After gathering over 800 responses, they selected 635 that matched the distribution of committed Catholics in the Polish population.


Survey conducted by the ISKK (Institute for Catholic Church Statistics) from May 13 to June 4, 2017. Online panel method on a cross section of 635 committed Catholics. (1)

> 1: Do you go to Mass? (1)
Every Sunday and holy day: 93.6%
Nearly every Sunday: 5.8%
Once a month: 0.6%

> 2: In July 2007 Pope Benedict XVI said that the Mass could be celebrated both in its modern form, termed “ordina ry” or “of Paul VI”—with the priest facing the people—and also in its traditional form, termed “extraordinary” or “Tridentine”—in Latin, the priest facing the tabernacle. Were you aware of this?
Yes: 89.5%
No: 6.9%
No answer: 3.6%

> 3: What is your opinion of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (in Latin and facing the tabernacle)? (Note: the total is above 100% because the pollster allowed multiple answers)
It is an expression of fidelity to the Church’s tradition: 49.9%
It is something normal: 37.3%
It does not correspond to contemporary culture: 17.6%
It is a strange practice: 4.2%
Other: 16.7%
Hard to say: 12.1%

> 4: If the older Mass were celebrated (in Latin and facing the tabernacle) in YOUR parish, would you attend?
Weekly: 28.9%
Once in a while: 51.6%

Never: 15.1%
Hard to say: 4.4%


Polish Catholicism, a leaven of victorious resistance to Communist dictatorship, went through a triumphant era in the late 20th century. From a doctrinal and liturgical point of view, it was less exposed to the “Springtime of the Council” and its abuses. Even today, Gregorian chant and Communion on the tongue remain the norm in most of the country’s parishes.

In this rather conservative and isolated context, it is interesting to note that the extraordinary form —so often presented as a reaction to abuse— would draw one worshipper in four every Sunday if it were part and parcel of ordinary parish life. A result that corresponds to the average found in the other countries (19% in France in 2008; 25% i n Germany in 2010; 27.4% in Spain in 2011; etc.).


1) The Poles are aware of the extraordinary form’s legitimacy

In Poland, nine committed Catholics (1) in ten know that the extraordinary form has full citizenship in the Church. This is a very high result. Besides the fact that it seems normal for committed Catholics to be informed on the different aspects of the life of the Church, one may also think that after ten years knowledge of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio has made some headway: in the first place through local word-of-mouth, then through the place that the extraordinary form has on social networks, and also thanks to the work of associations such as Una Voce Poland that organize lectures, ceremonies, and pilgrimages to promote the Latin and Gregorian liturgy.

2) A Catholicism preserved from the liturgical wars

The answer to question #3, which was slightly modified by the ISKK pollsters as compared to our usual item (2), brings out the fact that only one in 25 committed Catholics sees the older liturgy as a “strange practice.” Furthermore, less than one in five (17.6) considers that it does not conform to contemporary culture. In any event one may imagine that for some this answer is not a negative, since it only notes the incapacity of the contemporary world to make room for tradition.

On the other hand, the fact that one committed Catholic in two sees the extraordinary form as “an expression of fidelity to the Church’s tradition” is unambiguous. This survey therefore shows us the face of a church which, while it certainly has suffered along with the whole Church from the break imposed by the liturgical reform, nevertheless has by and large remained immune to a “progressive” opposition against the older liturgy as well as to the rupture that has harmed, and continues to harm, our Western European churches. 

3) 8 Polish Catholics in 10 . . . 

. . . would gladly attend the extraordinary form if it were celebrated in their parish: 28.9% would prefer to do so and 51.6% would do so once in a while. The close to 30% of Massgoers who would attend the traditional Mass every Sunday if it were celebrated conveniently in their parish (19% in France in 2008, 40% in Italy, 25% in Germany, etc.) shows the true weight of the extraordinary form. This again confirms the existence of a vast silent mass (at least one in four Catholics) that aspires to more sacrality and solemnity in its liturgical and spiritual life. Only 15% of practicing Polish Catholics express no attraction to the extraordinary form, which leaves a great field for the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum to make its way, patiently, among that country’s parishes.

4) The scientific confirmation of all our earlier surveys

The fact that, thanks to the ISKK’s specific competency, this Polish survey bears only on practicing Catholics makes it a reliable benchmark for analyzing the results of our earlier national surveys. All of our other surveys targeted Catholics generally, i.e. both Massgoers and non; at our request the polling institutes highlighted the answers specific to practicing Catholics. Because of the dramatic drop in even monthly Mass attendance among West European Catholics, however, the samples of Massgoers might be considered too small to be fully representative.

In reality, scientists are well aware that the more samples are numerous, the more the statistics are reliable. The consistency of the results obtained in the seven countries of our earlier surveys —France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Spain— was already a significant statistical element. Their agreement with the results of the Polish survey, obtained from a cross section exclusively made up of practicing Catholics, strongly confirms their validity.



  1. I'm sure the Polish bishops, in the spirit of JP II's "New Evangelization" will take up Pope Francis' motu proprio and mandate Latin as the normative language for the Polish Missal.
    I predict that this would be a sensational step forward and a model for the rest of the world.

    1. Pope Francis's newmoto proprio will,as intended,destroy the Mass. With this new directive, every bishops conference can, and probably will, engage in a liturgical free-for-all changing the words of the Mass with feverish and reckless liberal creativity until it will be unrecognizable as the Catholic Mass. It will cause another huge departure from the Church of the faithful,and contribute to another sharp downward spiral in priestly vocations.
      Anyone who doesn't think this is his intent is living in fantasy land.
      When an older cousin of mine was growing up, he went to Villanova University, where the radical liberal Augustinians who own/staffed the university and provided priests to say Mass ad libbed the entire Mass. One classic line of one of the ad libbed Mass he told me, and it comes up in family rememberances and conversations with much ridicule and mocking laughter. It was at the point of the Consecration, and went something like this...the priest said:
      "When we see this Bread, loving this Wine, let us clap our hands in joy at this love..."
      This is the kind of B.S. we're in for in the next few years....all thanks to Francis. Hopefully he'll be gone to his reward a few years before that.
      Damian Malliapalli

      (by the way, my cousin who is A LOT older than me, because of this,but mostly because of a pope like Francis, no longer goes to the Catholic Church. He hasn't converted, but usually goes to the Greek Orthodox Church. He's even visited the Episcopalian Church, and reported that even though they don't believe in the Real Presence in theHoly Eucharist, they all still kneel when they receive standing. That was a surprise to hear.

  2. "After gathering over 800 responses, they selected 635 that matched the distribution of committed Catholics in the Polish population."

    Which means this is doubly statistically meaningless, unfortunately.

  3. Here in St. Louis, there was an infamous case in regard to St. Stanislaus which was independent Polish Catholic. Then Archbishop Raymond Burke attempted to bring them back into a normative legal situation. The Board of Directors rebelled and were excommunicated. They then brought in a dissident Polish priest from another diocese to take control. It turns out that he was kicked out of his Polish diocese for an active gay lifestyle. He then basically turned the situation into one of embarrassment for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.---There was a legal agreement signed by Archbishop Glennon who died on his way back from Ireland after receiving his red hat. The legal agreement held up in court. We now have a Polish Parish in Soulard called St. Agatha.

  4. Can someone do this statistical research in Canada? I expect the results will be very different, as the TLM remains practically unknown outside of a handful of chapels.